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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Wolf Esprit is a work of fiction penned by author Joseph Stone in the dark fantasy, adventure, and suspense subgenres. It is part of the Lykanos Chronicles collection but can be read as a standalone novel. The work is best suited to mature readers owing to scenes of sexual violence. This darkly enchanting journey through time and identity is set in 18th-century France. At its heart, the story follows Esprit Lenoir, a seventeen-year-old carnival performer hiding a profound secret: his queer desires that defy societal norms. His journey unfolds as he navigates the intricacies of love, magic, and self-discovery, all against the backdrop of a repressive society. The narrative takes an unexpected turn when Esprit crosses paths with the enigmatic Baron and Baroness du Roussade, who help him embrace his dormant werewolf nature. This transformation allows him to break free from the constraints of human fear and embark on a unique journey through history, driven by love and a profound longing for freedom.
Author Joseph Stone masterfully combines elements of history, the supernatural, and the complexities of identity and queer expression to craft a gorgeous tale with darkness at its edge. As Esprit's wolf awakens, readers are drawn into a captivating tale that explores the timeless quest for belonging and the transformative power of love. One of the features I especially enjoyed was how relatable the LGBTQIA+ experience still is to modern audiences and how well it draws a parallel with the supernatural elements of the tale. Overall, The Wolf Esprit is a testament to the enduring appeal of stories that transcend time and place to delve into the depths of human experience and emotion, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to readers.